Chelsea Manning will finally receive the proper treatment for her gender dysphoria and will begin the process for an eventual gender transition surgery.
The decision is a first in the United States. According to BuzzFeed News, no inmate has ever received gender transition surgery while in prison. The decision came in the wake of Manning’s hunger strike on Friday, started in protest of the government’s refusal to address her medical needs. In April 2016, her psychologists recommended gender transition surgery for her diagnosed gender dysphoria.
Manning’s lawyer Charles Strangio was told that the military based this decision on the Department of Defense’s instruction for “In-Service Transition,” which goes into effect in October. As a result, Manning has been shown a treatment plan with information about the surgery and the medical team that will make it possible.
Despite this small victory, Manning will sit face the possibility of additional charges stemming from a suicide attempt in July. She is serving a 35 year long sentence at Fort Leavenworth for leaking thousands of classified military documents to WikiLeaks in 2013.
In a statement given through her lawyers, Manning said,
“I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the right thing. I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted – for them to let me be me.”
“But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long. Also, why were such drastic measures needed? The surgery was recommended back in April 2016. The recommendations for my hair length were back in 2014. In any case, I hope this sets a precedent for the thousands of trans people behind me hoping they will be given the treatment they need.”